The Hotel: No more teachers, no more books—just hotel rooms, fire pits, a swimming pool, and bars. Lots of bars.
When McMenamins Anderson School opened this month, it joined a long line of buildings that got a second life from the pub-happy McMenamin brothers. They've made hotels and bars from a masonic temple, a funeral home, and a poor farm, mostly in Oregon. They began transforming the 84-year-old art deco building last year, almost fully gutting the interior of the former junior high school to form three stories of hotel rooms (all named after schoolteachers, which is awesome). The principal's office now serves beer and cocktails.
For Out-of-Towners: The biggest problem with Bothell's hippest new hotel is, well, Bothell—a bedroom community on the top end of Lake Washington, a long haul from downtown Seattle but not far enough to qualify as a far-flung vacation.
But there's enough on the five-acre Anderson compound to entertain overnight visitors, especially the saltwater swimming pool house, the once institutional building now lined with bamboo and palm fronds. A 134-seat movie theater offers beer and other high-end movie snacks.
The 74 guest rooms are spacious by McMenamins standards, all with signature hand-painted headboards, flat-screen TVs, and private bathrooms. Guests don't have much reason to leave the property; we're calling it the perfect place to have a quick, pet-friendly getaway when you need to stay a quick drive from the babysitter or office.
For In-Towners: This is one hotel that might have more for the local than the visitor. The swimming pool—called the North Shore Lagoon—is free to Bothell residents and hotel guests but only $6 for walk-ins. First-run movies play for $9 and waiters deliver the beer and food within the theater.
And oh, the bars: There's the South Pacific-themed one above the pool, the spacious restaurant Tavern on the Square, the Woodshop game room (with a small-scale brewery out back), and the Shed, a tiny whiskey-centric pub located in the courtyard.
Because the property is close to where the Burke-Gilman Trail meets the Sammamish River Trail, it's the ideal stop on a bike ride to Woodinville, or for a day trip when the weather is cruddy. We've repressed most of our junior high memories, but rest assured the Anderson School version is way better.